Meet my friend; InfertilitySeptember 6, 2011 at 7:00 am | Posted in Daily Life | 30 Comments
Tags: infertility, IVF, NHS, Red magazine, secondary infertility
Image courtesy of Nina Matthews Photography on Flickr Creative Commons
Today I am going to be interviewed on Oxfordshire radio stations about infertility. And in my case secondary infertility (when you can’t conceive for a second time).
This is the first time I’ve covered the subject on my blog. So here we go, meet my friend; infertility.
Not as friend as such, more an irritating companion. A niggling itch that you can’t scratch.
My husband and I have been blessed with an incredible little boy – smart, witty, confident and absolutely beautiful. ‘They should be happy they have a child at all’ many will say – or at least think to themselves.
But as all mothers will know, when that burning desire to carry a child through pregnancy to labour and the birth sets in, it is totally overwhelming and incomparable to anything else in this world.
We have been trying to conceive for two years now. Bear; our three-year old son was conceived within the first month of trying. However, we were abroad, in the beautiful Australian sunshine, living on water and fresh pineapple, enjoying the good life as newlyweds.
Our circumstances our very different now – we have a big mortgage, my husband works unsociable hours, I run a business – often I feel very motivated, inspired and incredibly lucky, but sometimes I also feel lonely and lost.
At this two-year mark we’ve started to research our options. After a heckle-raising and deeply upsetting consultancy appointment in June when we were told by a hard as glass woman that she had no idea why we were there, what we expected or what to tell us, we realised that changing our fortune was down to us and no one else.
Because we are so lucky to have a son, we don’t qualify for any NHS support. And rightly so. I do agree that IVF treatment should be reserved for those that have no children, however the lack of help and guidance leaves a gaping hole and a nasty taste in your mouth.
The consultant we saw had nothing to offer, not even a sympathetic ear. She couldn’t even spare us the time to go through my monthly cycle and suggest options that might naturally improve our chances of conception.
I firmly believe that we will fall pregnant naturally and that mother nature has a way of deciding when the time in right. We’ve had an amazing two years; done up a house, grown a business, had lovely holidays and dedicated our time to our wonderful little boy. So maybe we were just needed elsewhere.
We’ve seen friends fall pregnant, give birth and celebrate the first birthdays of their children.
Some friends are hugely supportive – wrap you in their arms, ask how you are and offer a friendly ear, any time of day or night. Some are embarrassed, some decide to ignore the huge albatross hanging around your neck and others feel awkward and uncomfortable around you.
I’ve just started acupuncture and have high hopes for this. The therapist is lovely; supportive without being insulting, friendly without being invasive. There is no whale music and no incense. She’s my kind of person. She also said herself that she thinks we’ll conceive naturally in the next few months.
So for now I’m drinking smoothies, going jogging, swimming, having needles stuck into various parts of my sensitive pink but slightly ageing skin and only enjoying the occasional glass of Merlot.
I have no gripes with the NHS; our local hospital, the JR in Oxford is amazing – the care we received when our son was born was fantastic – apart from expecting me to survive the morning on two Weetabix after a 10 hour labour that is.
However there isn’t enough resource in the system to treat each woman with the respect and emotional support that she needs and deserves. It’s a conveyor belt – wheel ’em in and wheel ’em out – if they can’t help or you don’t qualify then see you later – go and pay your parking ticket and go home.
They seem to forget that this rules your life. It consumes your every waking moment. It dominates every decision – do we book to go to Vegas next year or will we have a baby? Do I take on that big new client or will I be on maternity leave? Do we move house or will we need every penny for the new baby? Do we live like recluses because in a year’s time we might need £4000 for IVF? And then up to £46000 more to actually make it through to a successful pregnancy. Do we just accept that we’re blessed with one child and stop? Will I ever be able to get on with my life without fulfilling that overwhelming desire to have another baby?
In the Red Magazine survey which I’ll be discussing on Jack FM this morning alongside my own experiences, the results show that 61% have paid for IVF because it’s not available to them on the NHS. The survey also says that 47% of women said that their fertility problems made them stressed. I’d say nearer 97% for anyone trying for more than 9 months.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m a lucky lady – I have a roof over my head, a supportive husband, a job, a bit of money in the bank and above all an amazing little tinker of a boy. But when your hormones say ‘make another baby’ there aint much you can do to make that go away. It feels like a huge black hole. I’m not sure what happens if you just let yourself fall in…
Have you experienced infertility? I’d be interested in your thoughts.